Reading Time: 6 minutes

The Open Architectural Design Competition Competition was organized by the University of Dhaka in association with the Institute of Architects Bangladesh, on March 15-16 and 18. The competition was held to design a landmark monument for the event entitled: “Construction of Landmark Monument: Celebrating 100 Years’ of the University of Dhaka and Golden Jubilee of Independence of Bangladesh” at Mall area, University of Dhaka. The monument will represent the struggle for freedom and the journey for the pursuit of knowledge of the University of Dhaka for 100 years. Out of 56 submissions, 8 designs had been selected, ranging from top 3 to the five honorable mentions amongst them. Here we are featuring the top 3 designs of the competition. We will also be featuring one of the honorable mentions that have been selected by the jury board of architects.

“Rustling Of Leaves” by niinArchitects

Model of niin Architects
“Rustling of Leaves” won the first prize due to its thematic brilliance of our subconscious aptitude amalgamated in nature

The “Rustling Of Leaves ‘ is a design that has a poetic resemblance and strong romanticization of nature. This design achieved the first position in the Open Architectural Design Competition. Inspired by the autumn leaf structure, the architects designed it in the shape of “half-lemniscate”. It is a form that allows all the natural streams, representing “the lush green, the see-through to the blue sky above the leaves of autumn, the Psithurism- the sound of rustling leaves in trees in winter, the Petrichor– alluring earthy scent when the rain hits the thirsty ground, Royal Poinciana, small grassy flowers blooms in spring enthralled by grasshoppers and dragonflies”. It is a monument structure that juxtaposes our national pedigree through our stream of consciousness. The aforementioned representation is the list of phenomena that “shape us subconsciously, reconcile us, kindle the knowledge out of books, and endure self-realization, liberalism, democratic values, secularism, unity, and sacrifice.” 

Night Visual
The night visual of “Rustling of Leaves”.

From the inception, this proposal stance apart from the presumption of a landmark being an object and advocates the perception of placemaking. Thus, being a modest pavilion it rejoices rain, wind and provides shade to the people that will allow them inside the space opening up possibilities of rendezvous and collaboration which is crucial to the growth of an institution like Dhaka University.

rain visual
Rain visual of “Rustling of Leaves”

The entire design has some subdivisions and can be divided into multiple subsections in terms of space. The surroundings of the design propose seats, pedestrian walk area, vehicular road. There are also slits for vegetation, relocated foundation stone, elephant apple tree, betel nut tree, textured pavement with red concrete, etc.  

“The Riverine Identity” by River & Rain 

The Riverine Identity
“The Riverine Identity” achieved the second position with its calligraphic brilliance integrated into the design

The design “The Riverine Identity” has won the 2nd prize in the Open Architectural Design Competition. The design is an architectural manifestation of the group River and Rain. The thematic and symbolic conceptualization of this project underlines the achievement and celebration of the landmark Mall area. This country’s major geographic profile, the river is represented through abstraction. This is done to insert a more organic nuance to the adjacent ambiance of the landmark. 

River and Rain
The celebration of our achievements and the pioneers are remarkably portrayed in this model

The two concepts can be recognized through the “distinguished focal point of inscribing ‘A journey of Achievement’ and Mall area landscape evoking the essence of ‘A place for Celebration’ as Muktijoddha Chattar. The individual panel as a part (texts containing names) is significant as well as the whole that holds an impression of solidifying the content of a 100 years legacy of the University. The 10 planes constructing the image of a single entity landmark have emerged as an outcome of creating prolific spaces within them. Cast Iron molded Bengali calligraphy is tied with the next one through ‘matra’ as a continuous process creating the horizontal lines where ‘kar’ is transformed as vertical structural elements as and when required for ultimate stability.

Landmark Monument Design (Unnamed) by the design team from Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology

The design by the AUST architects won the 3rd position for the simplistic portrayal of  our history

The team from AUST achieved the third prize in this competition with their groundbreaking architectural execution of the monument. The concept of this monument represents the history of the birth of Bangladesh. Each wall of the monument represents the movements of 1952, 1966, 1969 and 1971. The inner surface of the wall contains a brief history of that movement through mural works.

The animated portrayal of the monument from outside

The outer mirror surface reflects the glory of the University of Dhaka as well as the Independence of Bangladesh. The brick texture of the inner monument will remind the visitors about their roots and cultural background. The outer surface, on the other hand, will remind us of the invisibility of freedom and development. The primary material of the landscape will be brick. For the monument, the materials are brick, mirror SS, RCC and mural works. 

The design has 4 walls surrounded with history of Bangladesh inscribed in the walls

The approach for the design is to make it indirect in order to create a buffer space from the road. This will also provide a sense of boundary. The bigger green area is given to enjoy the scale and essence of the monument. This space can also be used for sitting, relaxing and other casual mind relief purposes. The total area can be accessed through a ramp. It is therefore convenient for elderly citizens and people with special needs. This place will also be bicycle-friendly. The total complex will be surrounded by trees, a large sitting space will be provided in the east, west and the south part so that students can easily get access to it without getting into the primary space. This side and corner will be used as an interaction zone. 


This design got the honorable mention in the Open Architectural Design Competition. The tensile fabric membrane structure gives the design an unquestionable uniqueness. According to the designers, “the monument is a “Journey” in itself without a predetermined endpoint destination; at the same time, it is a “Shelter” for nurturing freedom of expression and growth that does not conceal the unbound sky. Deriving from Rabindranath Tagore’s famous drama  “Achalayatan” that has depicted the eternal conflict between old, rigid, expressive and rebellious, free-spirited, revolutionary ideas, the monument is conceived as the physical form of the desired idea called “Shachalayatan”.

“Shachalayatan” earned the honorable mention. It is a structure that both glorifies the golden jubilee of Bangladesh and 100 years of knowledge pursuit of the University of Dhaka.

It is a structure expressing dynamism and mobility as opposed to rigidity and immobility. The monument symbolizes the century-old legacy of Dhaka University. It celebrates its achievements as an intellectual contributor to the creation and advancement of independent Bangladesh. It represents a timeline of the journey of 50 years and beyond. The absolute symbolism of this monument and its physical representation is henceforth, widely elucidated.  The structure of the monument utilizes 50 celebrating arms supported by 100 base members. This represents the golden jubilee of independence and the century-long contribution of the University of Dhaka.  

The celebration of collective secular aspirations, unity in struggle and sacrifices and collective strive is represented by the rhythmic movement of the individual elements of the monument that will create an experiential journey for the spectator.” – Sachalayatan 

These are the stand-out architectural designs, amongst the very competitive 56 designs in the Open Architectural Design Competition. Which one do you think is the best of the best? Do let us know your preference in the comment section below.  


  1. Akter Uj Zaman

    Wonderful architects making tasteful designs

  2. Rahat Ahmad

    The river and rain group is doing great. I have seen their fb page and they are pretty cool.

Write A Comment


The one who speaks your mind. The one who knocks.